be you

What do you do when being unique becomes mainstream?

Thanks to technology and the internet, we're able to connect with people on the other side the country, on the other side of the world, who share our interests.  We can communicate with people who think the way we think and do the things we do.

While being around and collaborating with like-minded people can be great, it can also kind of burst your bubble.  This happens when you start to compare yourself to others.  Rather than feeling like "a diamond in the rough" or "one in a million", you start to feel overshadowed.  You think they're better than you, more accomplished, more talented, more whatever.  And so you start to shrink back.  You stop trying.  You blend into the background.

That is not good.  You cannot measure your success by comparing yourself to others.  If you are constantly striving to be like someone else, you will never get there.  Why?  Because you are not that other person.  You are yourself.  And only you can be you.  Letting others inspire you, yes, that is a good thing.  But we should not strive to mimic others.  Rather than trying to be someone else, we should put effort into being the best ourselves we can be.

For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the faith God has distributed to each of you.  For just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ we, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others.  We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us. If your gift is prophesying, then prophesy in accordance with your faith; if it is serving, then serve; if it is teaching, then teach; if it is to encourage, then give encouragement; if it is giving, then give generously; if it is to lead, do it diligently; if it is to show mercy, do it cheerfully.
Romans 6:3-7


jump start

You're worn out.  Your battery is dead.  You feel like you just can't keep going.  How do you fix this?  How do you jump start your life?  Here are some ideas off the top of my head.
  • Pray.  A lot.
  • Read your Bible.
  • Join a Bible study.
  • Take a hot shower.
  • Take a bubble bath!  You know you want to.  :)
  • Go for a run.
  • Go for a bike ride.
  • Get a hair cut.
  • Color your hair.
  • Read a new book.
  • Paint something even if you don't think you're good at painting.
  • Go see a movie.
  • Cook yummy food.  And then eat it.
  • Listen to new music.
  • Listen to really loud music.
  • Go to a concert and listen to really loud music live!
  • Tell jokes.  Especially corny ones.  (What do you call a fake noodle?  An impasta!)  
  • Conquer a new video game, if that's your thing.
  • Go on a road trip!
  • While on your road trip, only go to places you've never been before.
  • Play with sparklers.
  • Clean your house.
  • Organize stuff.
  • Learn origami!
  • Take pictures.  Bonus points if you do it with an old film camera.
  • Stretch.  Do yoga.  Even if it's with the Wii.
  • Go swimming.
  • Go to the beach!
  • Fall asleep in the sun.  With sunscreen on.  So you don't get a sunburn.
Ok, so you have your list of jump starting activities.  Now what?  How do you make sure you actually do these things?  Recruit a friend to help you!  (Except for the hot shower and bubble bath ideas.  Those are best done alone.)  Grab a trustworthy friend and get to work!  They might even have more fantastic ideas to add to the list.

What would you put on your jump start list?


it's ok

It's ok to ask for help.  When life becomes difficult, when you're frustrated, when you're worn out and tired of trying.  It's ok to confide in people, to unload your burdens, to vent your frustration.

It's even ok to seek counseling.  Contrary to popular belief, going to a counselor is not a sign of weakness.  It is a sign of strength.  We humans can be very prideful and have a "No thank you, I can do it myself" kind of attitude.  It takes a lot of courage to admit you can't handle what is happening in your life and to seek help through either professional or pastoral counseling.

Having a support system is important.  You need friends and family members you can go to for comfort and guidance.  Keeping your struggles locked up inside yourself is not good.  You think they've gone away when really they're just waiting for the most inconvenient time possible to explode.

I do not have the support system I should.  I talk to my sister a lot when heavy issues come up and I have a friend I know I can talk to about serious things.  But besides those two people, there aren't really any others I feel comfortable turning to.  I've always said that I would rather have a few close friends than a bunch of friends I hardly know, and this it still true.  I don't feel like I have a lot of close friends though.  For one reason or another, the people I was close to two years ago or four years ago feel so far away now.

There are other reasons I don't have a proper support system.  I don't like to cry.  I don't open up to people very easily.  I have to really trust them in order to share my most secret thoughts and feelings.  I'm also wary of the advice people give.  Do they really have my best interests at heart or are they being biased and trying to further their own agenda?  Sometimes I feel like I'm being a burden.  I have no problem being a listening ear and a shoulder to cry on for others.  I can care very much about others and strive to be the one positive influence in their dark lives.  But when I'm the one needing the positive influence and the shoulder to cry on, I feel like I'm being an inconvenience.

I really need to work on my support system.

A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity.  Proverbs 17:17


I deleted my account on Instagram.  And then created an account on Pinterest.

"What?!?!  Didn't you just talk about reducing the amount of internet distractions in your life???"

Yes, I did.  And I'm still working on that.  I think my account on Flickr will be the next thing to go.

Pinterest, however, could be very useful.  The bookmarks bar of my browser is always full.  You have to press the little arrow button on the side to see all the links I've bookmarked.  I'm thinking Pinterest could be my new "bookmarks bar".  I constantly run across interesting things on the internet that I want to save to explore later or share with others.  Well, I can't see everything on my bookmarks bar since it's so full, and then that whole "out of sight, out of mind" thing comes into play.  I'll find something interesting, bookmark it, and then forget about it because I don't have the visual reminder of seeing that bookmark every time I'm on the internet.  With Pinterest, however, I can see my boards every time I log on, which gives me the visual reminder I need.

I already know Pinterest could be a real time-waster.  Friends have told me this fact and I see the evidence in the over one thousand pins they have on their boards.  So while Pinterest could be very useful, it could also be very wasteful.  The challenge is controlling how much time you spend pinning and determining if what you're pinning is really worthwhile.

These are the boards I have on my Pinterest account so far and what they're for:
lovely tresses - My hair is thick, coarse, and very unmanageable at times.  I'm always looking for new ways to make it behave and look nice.  Having a board full of hair styles, tips, and fun things to try will be very helpful when I just don't know what to do with my misbehaving locks.
wishful attire - As it says in the description: i'm a girl.  i like clothes.  Finding clothes in my size that don't make me look like a high school kid is difficult.  I think being able to visually narrow down the kinds of clothes I would like to have will make them easier to find.  I can also explore new styles and do-it-yourself clothing ideas I would like to try.
tattoos - I don't know if I'll ever get a tattoo.  They are part of you for the rest of your life.  I hear arguments from both sides about whether or not it's against the Bible to have a tattoo.  And supposedly they're very painful to get.  But whether or not I ever get a tattoo, I can't help admiring how they are such a beautiful and unique art form.
dance - I used to take dance classes and I really wish I had kept up with them.  Dance is a beautiful art and a grueling sport.  It takes grace and power to be a fantastic dancer.  I really love watching people dance.
it's good to laugh - For those days when you need a smile and a little pick-me-up.
chocolate... - Recipes for chocolate yummyness.  Because you can never have too much chocolate yummyness.
besides chocolate... - Recipes for non-chocolate yummyness.  Because supposedly you have to eat other things besides chocolate.
pho-tog-ra-phy - I've seen people create boards on Pinterest so they can pin photography ideas, whether they're a photographer or looking to hire one and want to have ideas for their photos.  While I understand the usefulness behind this, I won't be using my photography board for this purpose.  I've already seen the same "Pinterest photography idea" used at three different weddings.  I don't want to fall into the trap of following photography trends or be considered a copycat and unoriginal.  So instead my photography board is for cataloging useful tips, photographers I admire, and general photography geekiness.
stuff to make you think - Interesting blogs.  Interesting articles.  Profound thoughts.  A place to put the things that make you go "Huh, I haven't thought about that before."

So that's what is on my Pinterest at this time.  We'll see if my determination to maintain it for only useful purposes conquers the temptation to simply waste time with it.  Happy pinning!


A Faded Memory

A Faded Memory

It's still breaking...

I thought I was ok.  I thought I was ok enough to at least function, to at least focus on my work.  And I was.  I was fine as long as I didn't think about it.  But after a few days of being "ok" it all came back.  It all still hurt.

I don't know what to do this time.  I don't know how to let it all out.  How to let out the pain and sadness.  How to recover and move on.

(Warning: The next thought is very cliche.)
If something was never really yours in the first place, then how come it hurts so much when you lose it?

I don't like to dwell on things.  I like to process them as quickly as possible and reach some sort of conclusion or solution as soon as I can.  This time seems different though.  Seems like I need to give myself more time to be hurt, to let out the pain, to bleed.

How do I fix this?  How do I get back to being "normal" again?  You'd think I'd have this down to a science by now.  You'd think the amount of heartache I've experienced in the past would come in handy in this situation.

But, no.  Somehow it's different this time.  And I don't know what to do.